U.S. planned to destroy Taepodong-2: Rumsfeld
Rumsfeld also said in his book that the George W. Bush administration hoped important North Korean officials would stage a coup against Kim Jong-il as a result of economic and diplomatic pressure from the U.S. and other countries.
Rumsfeld served as the U.S. defense chief from 2001 to 2006 in the Bush administration and commanded the U.S. war in Iraq. His 832-page memoir was released Tuesday.
In July 2006, the North tested the Taepodong-2, which experts said could reach as far as the western United States, from its Musudan-ri missile pad on the eastern coast of the country. The missile fell into North Korean territory 42 seconds after launch.
In the book, Rumsfeld said he discussed with Bush a plan to shoot the missile out of the sky if launched, and the two men even discussed who should make the final order, because it would have to be done very quickly after the missile’s launch. Rumsfeld wrote that the plan wasn’t carried out because the missile failed.
Rumsfeld also wrote that he saw little chance the North would give up its nuclear weapons as long as Kim Jong-il remains in power. He said he believed that negotiating with North Korea over its nuclear program was a “trophy” or reward for the North for its bad behavior and sent a letter with that message to the National Security Council in 2002.
Rumsfeld wrote that he doubted six-party talks on North Korea’s denuclearization would succeed because China, a participant in the talks, appeared more interested in blocking U.S. efforts to disarm Pyongyang out of fear that its communist ally would collapse. Rumsfeld wrote that he wanted economic and diplomatic pressure that would lead high-level North Korean officials to topple the regime.
That pressure, he claimed, started diminishing after his influence, and that of other Defense Department officials, weakened within the Bush administration. He said then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Christopher Hill, the former chief U.S. delegate to the six-party talks, stressed that the State Department, not the Defense Department, be in charge of North Korea issues.
By Kim Jung-wook, Moon Gwang-lip [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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